I apologize if this has been discussed already - I did not do an exhaustive search.
One thing I think would be helpful is a way to rate comments. I often read what I think are particularly good or weak recommendations but because of time constraints, do not add a reply to the comments. I would love to be able to give comments I like a rating (from 1-5 stars) to quickly give my opinion on the comment. Other blogs have them, and I find the ratings very helpful. It helps you more easily sort through the muck and find the most incisive comments from respected commenters.
This would be particularly helpful when using CH to find restaurants in other cities while traveling. You can more easily figure out what might be a "consensus" pick.
It might cut down on the useless "ditto" posts as well.
Chowhound exists as an essay question site in the land of true - false and multiple choice sites. Some students write very (extremely) brief essays, while some write doctoral theses. It's what sets us apart from the plethora of "approve" or "don't approve" sites. I for one don't want that to change anymore than it already has.
<...the most incisive comments from respected commenters.>
"Incisive" and "respected" mean different things to different people. There are plenty o' Chowhounds who are much admired by their fellow posters, yet I don't think they're all that. And a few lone voices crying in the wilderness whose opinions I usually share. So this type of popularity contest - and that's what it would be - wouldn't help me much. I agree that muck sucks, ditto ditto posts, but how am I to ascertain the reliability of the comment raters? It's slow and inefficient, but I'll stick with my current "rating" system: read everything, and arrive at my own conclusions.
re: small h
I agree with you smallh. I find for myself that Chowhound works best if you take the time to get to know it - read some of the lengthy posts and learn who shares your likes and dislikes. There are plenty of sites that have quick 'star ratings' or 'likes' but that's not what CH is about.
re: ms. clicquot
<read some of the lengthy posts and learn who shares your likes and dislikes.>
Yeah, and then use the Who's Talking column in the upper right or follow the posters that you agree with. It doesn't take long to figure out which posts to read and which to ignore.
I hate sites that have rating systems because fewer people actually write reviews. They just "like" or "thumbs up" and don't add anything to the discussion/reviews.
re: small h
Agreed. I think that's both the beauty and drawback to CH. There is no shorthand of just jumping in and scanning. You have to invest the time to find the people who share similar tastes. But at the same time recognize the posters who have different tastes but are very knowledgeable and articulate about why they may dislike something. I find those kinds of posts very helpful too. By parsing what they don't like, I may find elements that appeal to me.
All this of course requires much more work and investment. But I much prefer that to scanning a short hand multiple star ranking system. Especially since the rankings might not have much correlation. I see that in Yelp. Someone may give a 3 star ranking but they were very articulate and thoughtful about what was going on, the flavors of the food and how it affected their thinking.
Conversely, someone might give a 5 star review because they just liked how good looking the staff was. If one were to scan the ratings quickly, you would think a 3 star rating just isn't as good.
I use CH as a resource when I travel. Since I'm not familiar with the posters outside my regional boards, I have to take the time to search and read several posts until I get the flavor of that board and posters. From there I get a good feel of for what will appeal to me.
Sure it takes a lot more time. But I find my experiences are more enhanced that way. Also when I ask for help and suggestions, I've already have a list of places in mind and my reasons for going there. I get better feedback on tweaking my itinerary rather than a blanket, so what's good and where should I go in "X"?
I think having a comment rating system would really detract from the CH experience. I don't want CH to be just like every other board out there. I want posters to put in the investment.
I think this would be a horrible idea. If someone agrees with a restaurant review, s/he is free to respond and say as much. From what I've seen on other sites, if someone gives a balanced positive review, she'll get a lot more positive ratings than she will if she gives a balanced negative review of a restaurant that most people like or hate.
My post was deleted because I rated the OP. I said I 'disliked' it and rated the idea zero stars.
I am guessing that was interpretted by the mods as an attack on the poster which is against the rules. However, that is exactly what you are asking for.
So, something I didn't bring up in my deleted post.
How many people would stop posting if they started getting a slew of 'dislike; and negative votes on their opinion?
There are some who don't like posting because someone else might respond and challenge their opinion. Imagine how much more intimidating it is to have nameless, impersonal votes show up on your opinion. For all you know it could be the restaurant having it's friends voting on anything negative. You have no clue WHY someone disliked your report.
When people MUST respond to say they disagree, there is a reason and posters can continue to discuss the pros and cons of a restaurant.
That often gives a feel for the posters tastes and might uncover some good info about the restaurant.
A little German restaurant that has had positive reports since it opened got trashed in two recent posts for BOTH service and food. A few more questinos by various posters uncovered it was just a matter of personal tastes and the restaurant was still on sold ground. Everyone did agree that the service needs work there. It always has needed work.
So people 'disagreed' about the food, but 'agreed' on the service. If people only voted without discussing, a great little German restaurant might be shunned. People would have no clue if the votes were agreeing with the service issue, the food or both.
That is the ultimate lose-lose situation. Diners lose on on a tasty meal. The restaurant loses business. It is in an area that is marginal at best and a few diners lost might just mean it needs to close its doors.
"How many people would stop posting if they started getting a slew of 'dislike; and negative votes on their opinion? "
Actually any ratings system would drive me into complete lurkerdom. At this point I only post 10 percent of what I compose. I'm sure I'm not the only one who re-reads their post and fails to hit the "Post My Reply" button.
Thumbs down on a poster ratings system.
re: MplsM ary
I post almost everything I write - but yes, I too have on occasion started writing a reply and then deleted it without posting, usually when I'm considering responding to a comment that I found particularly idiotic and realize in time that I'd just get bogged down into an increasingly unpleasant argument. And usually when I do so I see later that someone else couldn't resist and got themselves into that argument!
I think that rating comments might be useful on the restaurant pages (if they were ever used) but it seems less appropriate for a discussion board like chowhound. where the threads grow organically based on interest. There is plenty of scope to respond and interact with other peoples views - we are very unlike other sites where reviews are specific to a restaurant , book or whatever and you want to sort them